I found this recipe last week in a sweet book entitled "500 Cookies" by Philippa Vanstone. My first thought was "mmm, that would be good in a lunch box". Yes, next year I will need to change my blog subtitle - I've just handed in Hannah's school enrolment, and am starting to get my head around this impending new phase in our lives. And of course US food allergy blogs are full of back to school postings (this is a good one).
I'm delighted the staff at Hannah's childcare are instilling in the children the importance of not sharing their lunch. (Well, delighted and yet really saddened that this is the world we must live in.) Later in the year they get to practice by bringing their own lunch. And in October we get to practice going to school, a morning once a week for six weeks. It is really all about to happen.
But to the recipe. We tried it and liked it, but it is essentially shortbread and a very crumbly one at that. The date spread sort of glues it all together, but I can see lunch box problems unless very carefully packed. The book suggest you can substitute dried apricot, fig or cherry and blueberry.
250g dates, pitted and chopped
zest and juice of one orange
120ml boiling water
175g unsalted butter
225g plain flour
2 tbs cornflour
1/2 tsp baking powder
50g demerera sugar ( I used a brown sugar, not having any demerera)
Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees C. Line a 20 x 23 cm baking tin with baking paper.
Combine the dates, orange juice and zest and water in a saucepan, simmer for 3-4 minutes or until soft, stirring frequently so they don't stick. Allow to cool, then puree in a blender or with a Bamix (my preferred option).
Rub the butter into the combined flours, baking powder and sugar. Press about two-thirds of this into the baking tin. Spread the date mix over this. Then either sprinkle the remaining one-third of the mixture over the date spread, pressing down to give a crumbled effect, or roll the remaining one-third between two sheets of baking paper and lay on top of the date spread (my preference).